A product like no other? L-Acoustics exec on what the LA7.16i means for installers

French pro audio giant, L-Acoustics recently lifted the lid on its new LA7.16i amplified controller, which promises to deliver ‘a new breed of technology’. Jason Kelly, the company’s product and technology marketing engineer, tells Headliner what the new multi-channel controller says about L-Acoustics’ push into the installation market and why it is a product like no other…

What was the philosophy behind the launch of the LA7.16i?

For decades there has been a disconnect between the way amplifiers are designed and how they are used in the real world. Until now, the philosophy has been that every amplifier channel must deliver full power, continuously and simultaneously to all outputs, but this is rarely experienced in actual system deployments. This disconnect has meant that amplifier design has not evolved with the way modern loudspeaker systems are conceived and operated.

Additionally, an increasing number of applications require extended discrete processing capabilities and output counts, and classic four-channel products are not the most efficient approach in these scenarios. We needed to think differently, developing a higher density, multichannel approach, which complements how loudspeaker systems are being designed today. The LA7.16i is a new breed of intelligent amplified controller, that delivers high power and channel discretization, but with a lower cost-per-channel than could be achieved with a traditional four or eight channel solution.

What makes the product unique?

Several features combine to make LA7.16i a unique product. Its 16 x 16 architecture, 2RU form factor, and capacity to deliver 1300 W at eight ohms per channel make it the most compact, powerful, and high-density amplifier available. Combined with L-SMART, our unique power management technology, LA7.16i is an amplified controller designed for real-world applications.

What does the LA7.16i bring to the installation market?

Together with the technical feature set, LA7.16i also delivers direct benefits at the integration level. Its high-density design means fewer physical amplifiers are needed to drive the same sized loudspeaker system. This means less rack space, network hardware, and mains power distribution are needed… and less weight too. All these factors have a positive impact on the costs and the time it takes to install a system, but without compromising performance. And the efficiency of the LA7.16i also contributes to lower overall mains power consumption and thermal dissipation figures over the lifetime of the system, making it the greenest amplifier L-Acoustics has ever made.

The LA7.16i will allow even more customers to access out products. Jason Kelly, product and technology marketing engineer, L-Acoustics

How significantly does this launch increase L-Acoustics’ reach into the installation market?

The feature set of LA7.16i enables us to offer an unparalleled solution to the installation market, with a perfect balance of commercial and technical benefits, without compromising quality. Additionally, the adaptability and flexibility of LA7.16i will make L-Acoustics system solutions more accessible to a wider range of applications than ever before, broadening our reach through multiple verticals.

What business opportunities does the product open up for the company?

LA7.16i will create many new opportunities for customers to access our products. The high-efficiency design of LA7.16i benefits applications like cruise ships and stadiums, where rack space and weight limitations are a concern. Immersive audio applications, such as L-ISA installations, requiring large quantities of discrete processing and amplification will benefit from the lower cost per channel. LA7.16i makes these types of high channel count applications more easily accessible and cost-effective to deploy.

Tell us about the power efficiency of the product?

Power efficiency is a multi-faceted subject and is a combination of many aspects of an amplifier design. For LA7.16i we designed highly efficient, Class D, output modules and an advanced, DSP controlled, SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) with PFC (Power Factor Correction). But it’s our new L-SMART power management technology that really sets the LA7.16i apart. L-SMART uses predictive modelling and intelligent management of resources to deliver power efficiently to the connected loudspeaker system. This combination of efficiency and power allows the LA7.16i to drive everything from K2 to X4i, and any combination in between, without the user needing to think about how the system is deployed or managed.

Are there any particular applications it is best suited to?

Any medium to large-scale application can benefit from the flexibility that LA7.16i offers. If there is a need to have fewer racks and less weight, more efficiency, or increased numbers of discrete, high-power channels, LA7.16i delivers. Installation applications such as performing arts centers, theaters, immersive experiences, theme parks, cruise ships, and sports venues can all benefit from LA7.16i’s unique feature set.

When will it be available?

LA7.16i will ship in Q3 2022